In the dynamic landscape of organizational dynamics, the journey of an idea from conception to recognition can be intricate. This article delves into the phenomenon of idea propagation, explores the common occurrence of ideas being introduced by the board after originating from staff or the CEO/Executive Director, and offers insights on how staff can navigate and contribute to a collaborative culture.

Ideas are the lifeblood of progress within any organization. However, the journey from proposing an idea to its recognition can sometimes resemble an echo, bouncing between voices and gaining recognition in unexpected ways. This article examines the frequency with which ideas need to be heard, the phenomenon of boards adopting staff or executive director ideas, and how staff members can navigate these dynamics.

The Repetition Factor: How Many Times Ideas Need to Echo

Research suggests that an idea needs to be encountered multiple times for it to gain traction and recognition. Whether introduced in meetings, presentations, or casual conversations, the repetition of an idea reinforces its importance and increases the likelihood of it being acknowledged.

The Board's Role: Amplifying Ideas or Appropriation?

It is not uncommon for boards to echo ideas initially proposed by staff or the executive director. While this can be frustrating, it's essential to recognize that this may not always be intentional. Boards may genuinely see value in the idea and wish to champion it, even if the source isn't explicitly acknowledged.

Navigating Recognition: Perspectives for Staff

For staff members witnessing their ideas echoed by the board, navigating the recognition process requires a delicate approach. Rather than viewing it as appropriation, consider it an opportunity to collaborate and contribute to the organization's success. Recognize the shared goal of advancing impactful ideas.

Communicating Effectively: The Power of Clarity

To avoid miscommunication and ensure proper attribution, staff members should communicate their ideas clearly and proactively. Articulate the origin of the idea, its potential impact, and how it aligns with organizational goals. Transparent communication lays the foundation for a culture that values collaboration.

Establishing a Culture of Attribution

Organizations can proactively foster a culture of attribution by acknowledging the sources of impactful ideas. Boards, leaders, and staff alike should be encouraged to attribute ideas to their originators. This practice not only promotes transparency but also incentivizes a collaborative environment.


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